Forums Help & support External HDD password protection

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Svante 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #11450 Reply

    Mike

    Can AxCrypt be used to password protect, without encryption, an external hard drive?

    I don’t want the trouble to encrypt/decrypt 300 GB of data. I do not have big secrets on that hard drive; I just want to protect private information from the prying eyes of curious people, not hackers.

    Thank you in advance.

    #11451 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Mike,

    No, AxCrypt is File Encryption software. It encrypts files (using a password). It is not access control. You can acheive a low level of protection by using windows NTFS file system protection – but it is trivial to by pass by anyone with administrator rights on any Windows computer. In fact, there’s really no “middle ground” between encryption and no protection, or at least very little.

    You can also use EFS, which is built in to Windows – but it’s a time consuming process there too to encrypt the existing data, and EFS is a little tricky to use on external drives, you need to export a certifcate and keep it very safe.

    #11457 Reply

    Mike

    Hi Svante,

     

    Thank you so much for the very prompt response. You answered my question on a Saturday… wow! I also appreciate greatly you sharing your expertise and insights with me.

     

    So, it seems that my only option is to encrypt the data on the external hard drive. This brings up another question that I would like to ask you.

    I have a backup of some files on that external hard drive; backup occurs once a month. In the above scenario, that backup would be encrypted. Therefore, I’ll have to decrypt, do the backup, then encrypt again; am I right?

    And by the way, approximately how long it would take to encrypt 300 GB of data; it would take the same amount of time to decrypt?

     

    Best regards,

    Mike

    #11458 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Mike,

    I sometimes respond weekends, but no guarantees ;-) I am happy it is appreciated.

    I’m not certain of the situation you describe “I have a backup of some files on that external hard drive; backup occurs once a month. In the above scenario, that backup would be encrypted. Therefore, I’ll have to decrypt, do the backup, then encrypt again; am I right?

    If the files are encrypted on the external hard drive with AxCrypt (or similar file encryption software), then they stay encrypted regardless of how you copy or move the files. So, no, in that situation you backup the files like any other files. They are encrypted on the external disc, and are identically encrypted on the backup copy. If, however, you encrypt them with EFS or similar ‘transparent’ encryption, they will normally be decrypted transparently on read, and thus be written to the backup unencrypted, unless that destination again is configured for encryption.

    With AxCrypt currently encrypting 300GB should take about as long as copying the data twice, more or less. It depends on the size of the files, the speed of the storage media and the speed of the processor.

    #11484 Reply

    Mike

    Hello Svante,

    Thank you again for your help.
    To be more specific, I backup Documents, Pictures and Videos folders from my laptop to an external hard drive.
    After doing the first backup, I do an incremental backup every month.
    That’s what I meant when I was talking about encrypting/decrypting the external hard drive with AxCrypt.

    #11486 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Mike,

    Ok, yes, in that scenario it’s not a perfect match. The “obvious” way to handle it is to encrypt the files on the desktop, and then backup them in the normal way. If the videos are large, it may not be that convenient though. Problem here is of course that you’re not actually backing up the files, but a processed version. We don’t really support this scenario that well.

    Another way to handle it, which might actually be beneficial, is to let AxCrypt handle the collisions, and thus save successive generations of the files. IIRC AxCrypt will handle collissions by generating successive unique file names for the encrypted files, so MyFile.txt will get encrypted as MyFile-txt.1.axx if there already is a MyFile-txt.axx, leaving both . Do try this out, I am not exactly sure from memory just how this is handled in the different scenarios.

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